Being born and brought up in Karnal, Haryana, Jasmeet Singh completed his graduation in Delhi. He joined NIIT in 2004 after completing his MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune. Jasmeet Singh and Pushpinder Singh started Liv India Group in 2010 with a very small segment and were only providing speed car wash service. Jasmeet found franchise model very fascinating and he decided to implement it in his venture. At present, they are operating a total of 85 units in all over India under Liv India Management Pvt Ltd. Some of the services they offer are Upper body wash, Dry-wash, Ceramic Coatings, Paint Corrections, Ac sanitization, etc. Nowadays, they are working on a new segment – Solitaire Car Care which is mainly focusing on car coatings segment.
The team of BusinessAlligators got the opportunity to interview Mr. Jasmeet Singh who made a great business with bootstrap funds. Let’s see how he turned a small idea into Rs 10cr in revenue.
Que: How you get into the car care business?
Jasmeet: I think, in 2009 or so, I and Pushpinder were roaming in Germany for some work. There we came to know about car care business. While traveling by road, you will find a car wash center on your left or right after every 10 minutes of drive. And this business was doing really well. So I thought about why we shouldn’t start this type of business or car care centers in India.
Que: How do you perceive this business?
Jasmeet: Car care business has become an industry now. Earlier, the car wash was perceived as an upper-body wash and internal body wash. Nowadays, the car wash has become car detailing. Car detailing means to give 5-10 years old car a new refreshing look or showroom finishing. We are basically “Car Restorers”. We believe in providing a new and fresh look
To save car finishing from acidic rain or sun heat, we have developed our own coating products. We apply the coatings which offer protection till the next 60 months. We make our customers believe that the paint or coating we use for their cars will stay for more 5 years. These coatings are heat and dust resistant and give super shine to cars. And now we are expanding in Indian markets through these coatings. We are hiring certified retailers for executing these tasks. Initially, we provide training for them. We make them learn what is a coating, how the coating will protect the car. We certify the retailer after completion of training and we reflect the presence of those certified retailers on our website and mobile applications. And then, those retailers start operating our business.
Moreover, when I was conducting a survey in Delhi, I found that people spend an average of 4 hours a day in a car traveling from Gurugram to Delhi or from Delhi to Gurugram. So we should keep cars clean to protect ourselves and children from bacteria. We ensure that when a customer comes to us, we provide them a complete package of services including biologically clean, bacteria free, and glossy looking cars.
Que: So did you validate your idea or just started it?
Jasmeet: I didn’t go for any idea validation. It just came in my mind and I followed. India is a consumerist country and our population is a big advantage for us. There are so many cars, where will they go for service. So I thought let’s provide quick services and satisfaction to car owners and that too at a very reasonable price. So, validation was not there.
What I did was I made efforts to gain knowledge and acquire the imported equipment. I started this business as a retailer after my training in this field from Italy. We work on good machines, offer a solution to customers to improve their cars and believe to maintain a good pace.
Que: How did you find your co-founder?
Jasmeet: My brother-in-law is my co-founder. I am an engineer and then graduated in masters of business administration. When this idea hit my mind, I shared this idea with him. I was just 26 years old. I had an idea and zeal but not money to invest. So I asked him to invest in my business idea and he agreed to move further in partnership. He was engaged in pharmaceuticals industry initially but he dropped that field. And now, he is completely dedicated to this business with me.
Que: Why do you think a car owner should move to your services rather than other car care services company?
Jasmeet: Look, I will not claim myself the best because I am one of the choices for a car owner among so many car care service providers. I know there are other car service centers which might be more professional and more organized as if you consider the example of Honda service center, they are into multiple businesses. Car service is one of them. If I talk about car engine care, go to the Honda service center. But if you visit there car washing center, you will find that cars are not pampered well. Employees are working unprofessionally and using unauthorized products. On the other hand, we are in complete car care. Having 9 years of experience in car care I believe if it comes to car beautification and car rejuvenation, I am the best person in delivering the services to the best of my knowledge.
We also use eco-friendly products and we have very good ambiance like the good sitting arrangement, air-conditioned environment, and free play stations for children. So we have well-organized car wash centers to make our customers satisfied and that too at a very reasonable price. If it comes to a car wash, we charge Rs. 400 only. In the case of car wash plus car protection and internal sanitization, the cost can reach up to Rs. 35,000.
Que: What techniques you are using to become environmentally-friendly?
Jasmeet: When I started my business, I know I will earn money but the community also should get benefited. So, our very first initiative was to use eco-friendly products. Next initiative was to save water. For example, if other car wash centers are using 200 liters of water, we ensure that we wash a customer’s car in just 5 liters of water. We use air pressure and steam cleaning techniques to wash cars. More water can’t clean the car as effectively as air pressure can do. Steam cleaning is an absolutely eco-friendly choice.
We use 20 liters of water for air pressure technique and 5 liters of water for steam cleaning. To implement these techniques, we use customized machines. We import machinery from Italy, the UK, and Japan. But they all are customized as per our requirements to deliver the best customer experience. In my opinion, if society is not getting benefited, there is no use of doing any business.
Que: Tell us about your franchise model, royalty fees and commission you charge from franchise owners.
Jasmeet: If someone is willing to open Solitaire Car Care center franchisee, we are looking for 600 to 1000 sq.ft. of space. And the person should be willing to invest 15 to 20 lakhs which includes technology fees, infrastructure set up cost, launching cost, operation cost, advertising and marketing cost. He or she is not obliged to pay royalty fees because we are not charging any kind of royalty.
In case, if a person wants to get certification of Solitaire Car Care, he or she has to deposit Rs. 25000. The main concern is that he or she should use our certified products. We visit every month to see how they are delivering the services and we take products order then and there. Currently, we have 2 depositories, one in Ludhiana and another in Delhi. Soon we are going to open the third one in Bangalore. Products are supplied to them through these depositories.
Que: And how do you track that the franchise owners are using your products only and they are not cheating on you?
Jasmeet: Two things are there. First, we give them a web-based billing application. Through this software, we can track them and their activities. The second one is we do physical audits or surprise visits. It is very difficult to examine each and every franchise but we can control frauds to some extent through web-based software, proper training, customer feedback, and regular physical audits to deliver the best customer experience.
Que: How do you deal with unsatisfied client and unsatisfied franchise owner?
Jasmeet: My point is that dissatisfaction should never be delivered to customers. I remain strict and harsh with my franchise owners to make them deliver the best customer experience. I expect from franchise owners to maintain the same quality standards. Secondly, I believe in work engagement rather than delivering satisfaction to franchise owners. I involve them in activities related to business and market surveys to engage them in work. When they feel engaged with the business and earn good money, they feel satisfied automatically.
Que: How do you manage your employees and all your franchise owners?
Jasmeet: We are a team of 35 people. They all are pretty happy. They are working in different departments: – one is the business development department to keep the pace of business through new franchise acquisition and business through existing franchises.
Second is the operation and technical department, we have a technical team to visit the operation area, look for machines and install machines to avoid unwanted events in the future because the company remains responsible for that.
And the third department is research and development. My intention is that if customers are increasing, then it’s fine but if customers are not increasing, release more segments in the hands of existing franchise owners in the market to increase their turnover. For example, if someone is engaged in car wash only and not earning good then we can allot coatings segment also. So, we have the R&D team to launch new services & new products for franchises. In this way, franchise owners can earn more money from existing customers.
Que: How do you find the right employee?
Jasmeet: I don’t believe in hiring the right employee, I believe in making them right for the business by providing the
Que: Did you face any tough time initially?
Jasmeet: I was aware that this business will take a minimum time of 2 years to develop. So I didn’t lose hope and I was continuously working for it. Though there was a time when I was in a dilemma if I am in the right direction or not. But those thoughts were obvious. I believed in following the positive thoughts and discarding all negativity from the mind.
Que: What is the reason for setting up multiple units instead of running every service under one name?
Jasmeet: I follow customer segmentation. There are customers who own a car of worth less than Rs. 10 lakhs, some keep cars just to use as traveling medium, some keep cars for prestige and some are super luxury car owners. So we are setting up units accordingly. Our intention is to attract car lovers who love to maintain their cars. It is all about positioning which type of audience you are targeting.
If you get some idea just do it. Let sleepless night knock your doors because it happens with every entrepreneur. India is a vast pool of knowledge but the problem is just in execution. If you are thinking to quit the job, just quit it. There should not be a place for regrets. There is no major problem in getting your business finance nowadays. One is supposed to follow the right mentors.